I've always loved baking but haven't always been good at it. Often techniques and recipes in cookbooks do not include the much needed step by step instructions or illustrations which forces a fledgling baker to learn through trial and error.
After the many meltings, remeltings, and scorched chocolate disasters I have created over the years, I thought a good supplement to my post on peppermint bark would be sharing my fool-proof technique for melting chocolate - step by step instructions, photos, and all.
For perfectly melted chocolate:
Use high quality chocolate chips (like Ghiradelli) instead of bakers chocolate and put them in a small pot. Since the pieces are all the same size, it melts more evenly (got this tip from Julia Child).
No need to buy a double boiler, simply set a medium-sized pot with about 2 inches of water on medium-low and let the water heat until steaming (do not boil or it will be too hot and scorch the chocolate). Rest the smaller pot in the steaming water.
Once the chips start to melt and look a bit shiny, stir with a spatula until only small lumps remain unmelted.
Remove the small pot from the water and continue stirring until all lumps are gone and chocolate is shiny and smooth. The heat from the melted chocolate will finish the lumps and removing the pot from the water keeps the chocolate from burning.
The chocolate will stay warm and melted for awhile so it is better to take it off the heat too early rather than too late.
Voila! The perfect thick, warm, glistening ribbon of chocolat.